Language As Participation is a design research program made up of a variety of projects, courses and other efforts that explore the integration of participation in daily life and language use and learning. The program combines primary research, design experimentation, and the involvement of stakeholders to re-frame how people, organizations, and materials play a role in supporting participation in activity, with a special focus on learning to participate. These issues are especially obvious for newcomers learning to live in a country, learning the language, and engaging in a variety of daily activities. By focusing on the interrelationship of language and participation, the research program seeks to expand the notion of learning beyond the cognitive acquisition of knowledge, thereby giving greater attention to the current and potential resources that people employ in the everyday interactions of their daily lives.
After initial explorations in this area through the Språkskap project (see below), we now seek to expand the program through a range of projects that combine our expertise in design research, visualization, and participatory innovation processes, with the a variety of partners from different research traditions, public and private organizations.
Areas of exploration include:
- Mapping and Visualizing current everyday environments, situations, and social practices
- Experimentation and design of interrelationship of mobile and stationary digital and non-digital services for supporting in context interaction. Special emphasis upon self-generated content.
- New conceptualizations and visualizations for assessing language as participation.
- Demonstrations of working examples in pubic and private service providers.
Program Responsible: Brendon Clark, brendon.clark [at] tii.se, tel. +46 70 460 4811
Previous & Current Projects & Courses
Designing for Language Learning in the Wild: creating social infrastructures for second language learning
(University of Southern Denmark + University of Jyväskylä + Tampere University + University of Iceland + RISE Interactive (formerly called Interactive Institute), 2014 - 2015)
Objective: The primary objective of the project workshops are to strengthen a Nordic network about language acquisition theory and pedagogical principles and practices to bring second language learning out of the classroom into the students’ daily environment. The group combines the expertise of a) Experience Designers who create resources for the students to engage with the target community and hereby help students to build social infrastructures in their life-world, b) Interaction Theorists who can analyze and describe the activities in the wild, c) Second Language Acquisition Theorist who develop a theory of usage based language acquisition, and of d) Program Specialists with experience how to set up and run experiential language programs. The secondary objective is to inspire innovation in the language learning business. A third objective is to develop the research network, methodology and scientific production to back up larger applications from other funders. See the network website Language Learning in the Wild - (funded in part by NOS-HS)
(Ergonomidesign, Folkuniversitetet & RISE Interactive 2009-2010)
Språkskap was a design-led project that conducted a series of design research experiments for supporting Swedish language learning outside of the classroom. The final project report, Språkskap Swedish as a Social Language, is a vision calling into action four main players to contribute to language learning in a variety of contexts: Language learners, everyday citizens, language educators and private & public service providers. Språkskap was funded by a VINNOVA grant for Vardags IT.
- Leaners: From passive student to active learner
- Citizens: From language speaker to language coaches
- Language Educations: From teaching language to supporting learners in daily practice
- Private & Public Service Providers: From core business to providing an arena for language learning.
The Icelandic Village
(University of Iceland, University of Southern Denmark, RISE Interactive, Sweden and The Academy of the Arts in Iceland 2012-2013)
The Icelandic Village is a bridge between classroom interaction and real-life interaction. The village consists of a network of real companies in Reykjavik such as a bank, a bakery, a café where learners of Icelandic can use the new language for doing business. The project focuses on guided participation in real-life interaction in Icelandic as the staff is trained serving low-level speakers of Icelandic, and the learners get specific lessons before going to the Village and bring their experiences back to the classroom. The classroom and village environments explore new formats and technologies to help the learners further their business interaction and classroom reflections. The project ran a pre-pilot with three courses of Icelandic learners in the Summer of 2012 and a larger pilot starting in the Fall 2012. Concepts from the Språkskap project were brought into The Icelandic Village through collaborative design workshops led by RISE Interactive.
M.A. Interaction Design course Language As Participation
(Umeå Institute of Design, Umeå University in collaboration with Microsoft Spring 2012)
This 12 week course introduced design ethnography, collaborative design, and service design techniques to ask: What are current ways that people learn or are guided in participating in Sweden and Swedish? What are new roles that Swedish speakers, and public and private service providers can play in supporting language as participation? What new and old technologies and service concepts can support or promote language as participation?
Dare to Talk was developed from the initial concepts in the Språkskap project, and during the early stages of the Icelandic Village project. Dare To Talk is an iPhone application and learning structure for groups of people to support each other while using their everyday activities as a resource for language learning.
The overriding model is that everyday interactions between language learners and speakers of that language (the local language) provide great potential for stimulating language learning.
Course/Project Lead: Brendon Clark, RISE Interactive